In 2012, an unknown aspiring rapper posted a funny video to YouTube called “My Vag.” That video has now surpassed 2.8 million views, and Queens native Nora Lum, now Awkwafina, is a bonafide star.
As a TV personality, musician, and actress in two of this summer’s hottest films—Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians—Awkwafina is far from the cash register she worked behind just three years ago. But the road from bodega girl to New Yorker profile and huge red carpet premieres wasn’t easy, and the multi-hyphenate offered some inspiring words on the importance of following your dreams in a post on Twitter.
“In 2012, I put a video called My Vag on YouTube, knowing that it probably wouldn’t do well…” she wrote. “5 years later, I’m in an Escalade in a gown, driving down Hollywood Blvd that they shut down for Crazy Rich Asians.”
In the note, she writes about her experience being fired because of her music, being kicked off lineups, making $9 an hour, and being contacted to meet with a major label's A&R only to get blown off.
"Awkwafina was a dream I was chasing, and in some ways I am still chasing her," she wrote. "But we need to take risks. We need to go broke. We need to prove them wrong, simply by not giving up.”
Thanks to her persistence, and the song "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac, Awkwafina will hit the big screen in Crazy Rich Asians when it comes out on Aug. 15. Beyond her personal success, she’s part of a historic moment, since CRA is the first American flick with a leading Asian American cast in 25 years.
“Awkwafina wasn’t supposed to exist, but somehow she does,” the actress wrote. “And I think about how everyday that she was born for one reason only- to show everyone out there, that it is possible.”